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The terror of submitting work

December 4, 2015 2 comments

Submitting work is like sending my only child out into a wolf-infested forest. In the dark.  Without a torch.

All right, so I’m exaggerating – but not that much.  When I send out a novel or a story, I’ve put so much into it.  It’s so much more than words on a page.  It’s part of me.  There’s so much tension between wanting it to be out there in the big bad world and fearing for its very life.  When I drop that brown envelope in the post box, or, more often these days, hit the send button on an email, my heart is in my mouth.  What happens to my story matters to me so much.

Sadly, it doesn’t matter to anyone else that much.  In fact, indifference is often the outcome of a submission.  So often I don’t hear anything back, not even a one-line form email rejection.  If I don’t hear back straight away, then it’s a good sign – it might mean that my submission is being considered. (After all, each time it took months for the work I have had published so far to be accepted.) But as the days stretch to weeks and then months, slowly I have to accept that this time I’m not going to get a response at all.  And that no response just means no.

But I keep on submitting because in my best days, I believe in the strength of my writing.  I believe it’s tough enough to survive the wolves and come out on the other side of the forest and into full view, where, if I’m lucky, the sun will be shining.